Dennis McMurrin

2018 - Lifetime Achievement Award

When Dennis McMurrin first picked up a guitar at the age of nine, he was influenced by his maternal grandfather who often played the guitar as a hobby. From there, Dennis “Daddy-O” McMurrin became one of the finest and most highly respected guitarists in Iowa. He has had a 45-year-long career playing and singing, gaining a loyal following through his recordings and countless gigs.


His first paid gig was in 1963 for the Christmas party of the Boddicker School of Music at the Danceland in Cedar Rapids. His first band was called The Plannets.


Dennis’ biggest influences in music include James Brown, B.B. King, Johnny Winter, and Tower Of Power. The Tower Of Power Horns played on Dennis’ first album. Over the years, Dennis has developed a super-funky, soulful style of Blues that gets the place jumping.


One of the venues that have been a regular stop for McMurrin is the Yacht Club in Iowa City. He has performed over 50 times there with the Demolition Band, a group he has led since 1986.


In addition to his longtime association with the Demolition Band, he also does gigs with D-Dog & the B-Bits as well as McMurrin & Johnson. He formed McMurrin & Johnson with bassist Dan “DJ” Johnson in 1994. Together, the duo has performed at Bluesmore, the BBQ Roundup, the Freedom Festival, and Jazz Under The Stars as well as several other notable long-running house gigs at various venues in eastern Iowa.


Dennis has also done some gigs with Terry Lawless, keyboardist for the Irish rock band U2, has toured recently with Bruce Springsteen and done a high profile show with film composer Michael Boddicker, who shared a Grammy award for the score to Flashdance and also played on some of Michael Jackson’s biggest albums, including Thriller.


Dennis has performed on radio and television as well as writes and produced radio and TV commercials for businesses. In 2008 he was inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame and is now a proud member of the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.


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